April 12, 2021

Be steady and well-ordered in your life so that you can be fierce and original in your work (Gustav Flaubert (1821-80)).

7.45 am: A communion. 8.15 am: The beginning of the Summer Term. The above maxim was beloved of Frank Zappa — one of the most audacious, iconoclastic, and challenging musician-composers of the 20th century. In his private life, he was a rather conservative family man: a loyal husband some say) and a good father, who dissuaded his children from indulging in the drugs, smoking, and alcohol that were endemic to the rock-star lifestyle. Organisation, structure, direction, routine, and self-discipline are, together, the engine that drives spontaneity, imagination, boundary-breaking, and significance in creative work. I’m fully persuaded of this.

Over the Easter vacation, I furthered my reading of applied theology, began devising a programme to enable a more systematic inquiry into music theory (via the guitar), began a biography on Django Reinhardt, and completed the text for The Aural Bible I website. I had, too, enjoyed reflective walks around the local landscape. There were moments of ‘transportation’:

The primary task of the morning was establishing who among my contingent of BA and MA tutees wanted to be taught online and who, face-to-face. 10.30 am: I made final preparations for tomorrow’s PhD viva voce ‘at’ the School of Art and dealt with a PhD inquiry. 11.00 am: Until the inevitable responses to my email posts arrived on screen, I had time to import the new text into the The Aural Bible I website and source sound equipment. Brexit has meant that goods from Europe are now delivered more slowly and more expensive. Covid-19 has meant that goods from the USA are often out-of-stock, and with no certainty of a date for shipment to the UK. Meanwhile, in the ‘real world’ of high-street trading, as businesses reopened, shoppers were queuing for ‘non-essentials’ as though their lives depended on them. (Bewildering!)

2.30 pm: Emailery. There’s always a minor landside to endure following a holiday break. 2.30 pm: I made a second sweep over the text. I chiselled away at the sentences, removing the excess and allowing more to be articulated by less. 4.15 pm: I took to the streets to enjoy the latter part of a day that had begun unpromisingly, weather-wise, but ended well.

7.30 pm: Socks and smalls dispatched, I commenced importing the revised texts into the website.

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